[eDebate] ans Eliott

Michael Korcok mmk_savant
Fri May 12 16:42:33 CDT 2006

Not everyone thinks you are a fool.  I think you are pretty damn sharp.  But not on this issue.  Dull as dirt on this one.
Your example is great.  All that detail wasn't needed, but it will help give folks a sense of what's involved.
The short answer is: the judge isn't the federal government.  The long answer is "The Decision-maker."
*** Scott first asks: "So Mike, why does this not compete? I don't have my 1972 JAFA's laying aroundanymore."
Fall 1975 not 1972.  Lichtman and Rohrer.  A General Theory of the Counterplan.  They wrote in footnote 13 that:
"It is assumed, of course, that decisionmakers being addressed have the power to put a counterplan into effect. An individual or governmental unit can reasonably be asked to reject a particular policy if an alternative promises greater net benefits. If, however, a counterplan must be adopted by another individual or unit of government, the initial decisionmaker must consider the probability that the counterplan will be accepted. Debate propositions often affirm that a particular policy should be adopted by the federal government. Even if adoption of this policy by the individual state governments would be more beneficial, a reasonable critic would still affirm the resolution if state adoption were highly unlikely. The federal government should refrain from acting only when the net benefits of state and local action, discounted by the probability that such action will occur, are greater than the net benefits of federal action."
your example counterplan DOES compete with your example plan:  NOT THE FRIKKIN ISSUE.  
illegitimate FIAT is the issue.  here are a few more examples:
plan: The CIA wiretaps suspected terrorists
cplan1: potential terrorists abandon their evil ways
cplan2: China hunts down all suspected terrorists and kills them
cplan3: Scott Eliott and his Cajun Lawyer Posse capture and force the terrorists to listen to Zydeco for hours. 
lets say all 3 counterplans COMPETE (net benefits) with the plan.  Are any of them legitimate reasons NOT to do the plan?  NO.  and because there won't be a plausible decision-maker with authority to choose between the plan and any of the counterplans.  another way to say it is that none of the 3 example counterplans are legitimately fiattable.
in case you don't see the above despite 30 frikkin years of people who have thought about the matter for more than a few frikkin hours telling you the same frikkin thing, then SUCK CRAWDAD HEADS SWAMPY!
Hey Scott, W calls you into the oval office and sits you down and says...  
"Eliott, I need your advice.  I am thinking of doing the following plan: The CIA wiretaps suspected terrorists.  Does i do it or does i not?"  
You answer... 
"NO good buddy you don'ts and I'll tells you why.  It'd be better for China to hunt them all down and kill them."  
W asks you... 
"but Scotty...  do you have a reason to think that China WILL do that if the CIA doesn't?"  
You answer... 
"DUBYA DUBYA DUBYA you ignerint Texan.  This is a counterplan not a disad...  We'll just FIAT that China does it!"
Before the day is over, there will be a white evidence collection van at your hovel and you will be all over Fox News linked to some strippers and poker at a Watergate payoff scandal...
***Scott then asks "So, why wouldn't a policy maker make the rational choice of one or the other?"
Because there is no plausible decision-maker who would actually have the authority to choose one or the other.  That was Lichtman and Rohrer's whole point and it was Ulrich's and mine too.  Let's look at some plausible decision-makers in turn:
1) your resolutional actor and plan agent, the US Supreme Court?  Would John Roberts and his fellows even think about NOT overturning Roe because a better option would be for them to FIAT an otherwise disinclined Congress to overrule it?  Of course not.  That's just nonsensical.
2) your counterplan agent, Congress?  More nonsense.  Congress has no authority to FIAT Supreme Court action, that is to decide for the Supreme Court.
3) the critic evaluating the hypothetical debate?   No, the critic is just an associate professor or a graduate student who has no authority to do the plan or the counterplan or anything other than whether they will eat the donut in front of them or not.
4) the critic roleplaying as the US Federal Government?  Dallas Perkins and Roger Solt beat the crap out of this idea in the late 80s.  beat it to within an inch of its life.  what the hell would it be like to be the USFG?  what a creepy creepy idea this is...  Scott Eliott sits down in the back of the room and starts to pretend that he owes $8.364 trillion, that there are 4 million people working for him, and that he decides what George W. Bush and John Roberts and Nancy Pelosi will do...  Why roleplay as the USFG rather than as a concerned US citizen, as Koffi Annan, as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, as Premier Hu, as NASA, or as that damn dancing monkey that eats all the vegetables?  Why can't the critic just be themselves rather than pretending to be something they are not?
5) the critic deciding what the US Federal Government should do?  NOW we are ALMOST finally where Walter Ulrich got to in the mid 80s.  The short answer is that not every resolution has the USFG as the actor.  Look at these resolutions  
Resolved1: France should invade Iran. 
Resolved2: Governor Schwarzenegger should sign the same-sex marriage bill. 
Resolved3: Swampy should suck crawdad heads. 
Resolved4: Korcok should buy the Prius already.  
How the hell would it make sense for a critic listening to debates about these resolutions to decide what the US Federal Government should do?  
6) the critic deciding what the RESOLUTIONAL ACTOR should do?  FINALLY we are to the mid 80s for frikkin out loud.  Walter Ulrich took this step.  Sometimes that would be the USFG, sometimes it would be the UN and sometimes that would be the US Supreme Court and so on.   In each case, the scope of negative fiat would be limited to the scope of authority of the RESOLUTIONAL ACTOR.  Still NO to the vast majority of actor/agent counterplans.
YOUR example of a US Congress counterplan where both the resolutional actor and the plan agent are the US Supreme Court fits right here.  But your answer is an a-theoretical piece of junk.  You cobble-together a bunch of different ideas and have the critic roleplay the US Federal Government in this debate for no reason.  Why is your critic being all creepy and roleplaying at all?  Why is your critic roleplaying the US Federal Government when the resolutional actor is the US Supreme Court?  Why is your critic roleplaying the US Federal Government when the plan agent is the US Supreme Court?
but Ulrich's solution is clearly insufficient.  there is no reason why the resolutional actor and the decision-maker faced with the choice of whether to adopt the plan are the same entity.  that was my point in "The Decision-maker."
7) the critic deciding what the appropriate decision-maker should do?  my solution and it is the correct general solution but the question in each instance becomes who or what is the "appropriate decision-maker?"  The "BIG 3" choices are 1) the resolutional actor 2) the plan agent and 3) the USFG:  each of these suggestions has advantages and disadvantages attached to them, but in each instance, once one decides who or what the decision-maker is, the scope of legitimate negative fiat is THUS determined:  all and only those counterplans which can be chosen by that decision-maker is legitimate.
***Scott writes: "The real world of policy making does it all of the time--in fact, Roe v. Wade is a perfect example of how, in 1972, women's advocates found it to be more cost effective to go the Courts route than to try to legalize abortion in every state. So, the real world model applies. It is not your "have Jesus come down and take all the fetuses straight to heaven," in other words, it is not Utopian."
This is silly.  NOW didn't have authority to rule on Roe, the US Supreme Court did.  That NOW concluded that their efforts were more likely to succeed in the Courts than in the legislatures has about nothing to do with this discussion.  Scott, did Justice Blackmun consider, for even 1 second, ruling the Texas abortion statutes constitutional because it would have been better for Texas to just amend its laws?  Of course not because amending Texas's laws was not within the scope of his authority.
And, the problem with "have Jesus come down and take all the fetuses straight to heaven" isn't that it is "utopian," but rather that the appropriate decision-maker choosing whether to enact the affirmative plan has no authority over Jesus's actions.  and that Jesus doesn't exist, but that is a less important reason.
Michael Korcok
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